Jacques Alfred DextrazeCC CMM CBE DSO (2) CD LLD was born in Montreal, Québec (QC), son of Jacques Dextraze and Armanda (Bond) Dextraze. He was educated at St. Joseph's College, Berthierville, QC, and in July 1940, enlisted in Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal. He rose to the rank of sergeant before being appointed a commissioned officer after graduating from the Officer Cadet Training Unit at Brockville, Ontario (ON).
While serving with his regiment during the hard fought battles near Falaise France in Normandy, he was awarded theDistinguished Service Order (DSO) for conspicuous gallantry against the enemy. He went on to participate in the 2nd Canadian Division operations in the Scheldt Estuary, Holland and the Hochwald Forest. During action at Gronigen, Holland, Dextraze persuaded a German general to surrender the city. For this, he was awarded a second DSO.
Following the war, he took up an executive position with the Singer Manufacturing Company in Montreal. At the request of the Department of National Defence, in 1950 he re-enlisted to take command of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment (Van Doos), leading it in the Korean operations.
He returned to Canada in 1952 and held various senior appointments. In February 1962, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and appointed commander of the Eastern Québec Area with headquarters in Québec City.
One year later, he becameChief Of Staff of the United Nations Forces in the Congo, the first Canadian to hold the appointment. For outstanding planning and leadership in directing rescue operations there he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). Later, the Belgium government awarded him "The Cross of the Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown".
He returned to Canada in 1964 and in September 1967 he was promoted to Major General and made commander of operations for Mobile Command. In November 1968, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general and appointed chief of personnel at Canadian Forces Headquarters in Ottawa, ON. In September 1972, he was promoted to the rank of General and becameChief of Defence Staff for Canadian Armed Forces.
In recognition of his position as Chief of Defence Staff, General Dextraze was made aPrincipal Commander of the Order of Military Merit (CMM). Dextraze was also made a Companion of the Order of Canada (CC). He retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in June 1977 and from 1977 to 1982 was Chairman, Canadian National Railways. He was a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem; Knight of the Military and Hospitalier Order of St. John of Jerusalem and a Knight of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta.
General Dextraze, in September 1942, had married Frances Helena Pare, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Pare. They had four sons; Richard, Jacques, Robert and John. General Dextraze died on May 9, 1993 at National Defence Medical Centre in Ottawa and was buried in Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery in Montreal.